So, here’s the thing, neutral site games STINK! There are a couple of instances that the neutral site game is not only acceptable, but preferred based on the location of the stadium & the proximity of the two teams playing. I’ll give you those examples early:
*Texas vs Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry (say that 5 times fast) at the Cotton Bowl
*Florida vs Georgia in The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville
Outside of those two traditional instances, neutral-site games are a complete money grab. Look at week 3, Ohio State traveled to AT&T Stadium aka “Jerry’s World” to play TCU. TCU’s campus is less than 20 miles away from Arlington, so it’s basically a “home” game for the Horned Frogs, but it’s not.
The neutral site game is robbing fans of the opportunity to see their team play, in their stadium. It takes the tailgates away from the home fans & the students. It forces many to miss out of the game-day atmosphere & for what? Well, that answer is easy, it’s for the money. But you’re telling me that TCU-OSU couldn’t have scheduled a home-and-home series for two years & it wouldn’t have been nationally televised? Are you telling me that certain fans couldn’t have made the trip to visit another campus & that wouldn’t have been a good experience? Are you telling me that in order to recruit nationally, Power-5 teams have to travel & play games at these pro stadiums to draw recruit’s interest?
My team traveled to “Jerry’s World” last year as Michigan beat #17 Florida, but that would have been an AWESOME home-and-home series. Instead it’s a one & done. It looks good at the time on the schedule, but what’s the real benefit? Notre Dame - Michigan is a GREAT rivalry & what makes it better is the cathedrals of college football in which those games are played. This year there are 17 neutral site games in college football. Notre Dame will play in 2 of those, vs Navy on October 27 in San Diego & against Syracuse at Yankee Stadium on November 17. And for what? Give those service members a chance to play at Notre Dame’s historic grounds… and don’t even get me started on playing football games at baseball stadiums.
There are already 12 neutral site games on the schedule for 2019 & 14 in 2020. In 2019, Auburn will play Oregon in Arlington, Texas, as will Texas A&M vs. Arkansas. Boise State will play Florida State in Jacksonville, Florida (because that makes sense). And in 2020, how about this one: USC vs Alabama, where? Jerry’s World in Arlington.
The neutral site games that have invaded the college football landscape do nothing for the fans, in fact they rob the teams of actual home games… but much like the “student athletes” themselves, the powers that be don’t really care about anyone or anything outside of the price of the ticket & the commercial inventory on the TV screen.
-Anthony Bellino is the host of The Fox Sports Morning Blitz, weekday mornings form 7am-9am on Toledo’s Fox Sports Radio 1230.